Gender Questions - Volume 3, Issue 1, 2015
Volume 3, Issue 1, 2015
Source: Gender Questions 3, pp 1 –3 (2015)More Less
We are pleased to present the third volume of Gender Questions. In this volume we include articles focusing on different regions of the world dealing with diverse and multidisciplinary issues related to gender. Topics exploring conditions in Zimbabwe and Nigeria as well as literature focusing on African-American masculinities are presented, while some of the other contributions move beyond one location to highlight issues related to multiculturalism, migration and portrayals of a well-known fictional character.
Source: Gender Questions 3, pp 4 –24 (2015)More Less
During March 2015, Professor Anne Phillips of the London School of Economics was a visiting fellow at Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS). On 13 March a group of nine gender scholars from different disciplines held a one-day workshop to explore the notion of multiculturalism with her. At the end of the workshop it was suggested that Gender Questions should conduct an electronic interview with Professor Phillips and that the scholars who attended the workshop would write responses to the interview. What follows are the interview with Professor Phillips and responses from four of the gender scholars who attended: Professor Amanda Gouws (Political Science, Stellenbosch University) Professor Desiree Lewis (Women's and Gender Studies, University of the Western Cape), Professor Louise du Toit (Philosophy, Stellenbosch University), and Dr Stella Viljoen (Fine Arts, Stellenbosch University). The other scholars who attended were Professor Shireen Hassim (Political Studies, University of the Witwatersrand), Professor Kopano Ratele (Unisa/Medical Research Council), Professor Cherryl Walker (Sociology, Stellenbosch University) and Dr Christi van der Westhuizen (HUMA, University of Cape Town).
Being gendered in Africa's flag-democracies : narratives of sexual minorities living in the diasporaAuthor Kezia BatisaiSource: Gender Questions 3, pp 25 –44 (2015)More Less
Critical engagement with existing scholarship reveals that many postcolonial African states have set up legal frameworks which institutionalise heterosexuality and condemn counter-sexualities. Clearly discernible from this body of literature is the fact that non-complying citizens constantly negotiate 'the right to be' in very political and gendered ways. Ironically, narratives of how these non-complying citizens experience such homophobic contexts hardly find their way into academic discourses, irrespective of the identity battles they fight on a daily basis. To fill this scholarly gap, I first insert the question of diaspora into the argument made extensively in literature that gender, sexuality and homophobia are intrinsic to defining national identity in postcolonial African states. Subsequently, I capture the experiences of queer Africans that emerged out of fieldwork conducted in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa, between 2011 and 2014. The focus is on the narratives of sexual minorities who migrated permanently to South Africa to flee draconian legislation and diverse forms of sexual persecution in Zimbabwe, Uganda and Nigeria. Juxtaposed with the experiences of South African sexual minorities, deep reflections of how queer foreign nationals have experienced their bodies beyond the borders of their respective homelands tell a particularly interesting story about the meaning of the postcolonial state, read through the intersections of gender, sexuality and diaspora discourses. Local and foreign sexual minorities' experiences are replete with contradictions, which make for rich and ambivalent analyses of what the reality of being a sexual minority in (South) Africa means. Contrary to queer Africans who construct living in South Africa as an institutionalisation of 'liberty', sexual minorities of South African origin frame the country's democracy as an intricate and confusing space. Although analysed in this article, this conundrum paves the way for further engagement with the interplay between sexuality, homophobia and migration/diaspora discourses, which are often invisible to queer research on the continent.
Author Sunee JonesSource: Gender Questions 3, pp 45 –61 (2015)More Less
Research has shown that some children's stories may contain subversive cultural messages and that, by consuming them, children are unconsciously socialised and unwittingly influenced to accept cultural norms relating to, among other things, gender roles, race relations, power structures and class distinctions. This process of socialisation is especially effective through the medium of children's literature, especially those stories that make use of generic elements such as the archetypes found in fairy tales, and the fairy tales re-imagined and produced as films by the Walt Disney Company. A literature review confirms that gendered messages are present in the entertainment provided to children and highlights the most universal preconceptions of feminine roles in Western society. To determine if these gender stereotypes have evolved in recent years, the depiction of a beloved children's character, the fairy Tinker Bell, first imagined by author J.M. Barrie and later refashioned by Disney to become part of our collective imagination, is explored. A close analysis reviews the depiction of Tinker Bell in three different texts: Barrie's 1911 novel, Peter Pan, Disney's 1953 animated classic of the same name, and the first instalment of Disney's more recent series of movies in the Fairies franchise, Tinker Bell (2008). The results indicate that the original Tinker Bell is a non-traditional female portrayed as a negative stereotype, but that the latest version of Tinker Bell is a non-traditional female portrayed in a positive manner. This shift in emphasis may indicate that gender stereotypes in the 21st century are consciously being reviewed.
Author Mariam YoussefSource: Gender Questions 3, pp 62 –78 (2015)More Less
This article examines the theme of black male incarceration in the African American novel. Black male incarcerated characters are frequently presented as the most socially aware characters in the novel, in spite of their isolation. In different African American novels, black male incarcerated characters experience a transformation as a result of their incarceration that leads to a heightened awareness of their marginalisation as black men. Because of their compromised agency in incarceration, these characters are not able to express black masculinity in traditional ways. Using novels by Richard Wright, James Baldwin, John A. Williams and Ernest Gaines, I argue that black male incarcerated characters use their heightened awareness as an alternative method of expressing black masculinity.
Author Anne M. ReefSource: Gender Questions 3, pp 79 –96 (2015)More Less
This study examines the role of the school in Mark Behr's Embrace, and situates the institution's location at the nexus of gender studies, children's literature scholarship and Lacanian psychoanalytic theory. The article argues that in the novel, the school is a phallic parent in loco and an agent of the apartheid state, eager to enforce white male and heterosexual hegemony in psychologically and physically violent ways. Behr focuses on the vicious abuse of queer boys particularly. The article applies contemporary scholarship in children's literature to what is unquestionably a novel for and by an adult, precisely so because of the book's bold grappling with the questions of what is a child, what constitutes sex, who or what is the phallus, and what constitutes violence; it also situates Behr's thinly veiled autobiography in a (queer) school story tradition. Specific thinkers on whose work the article draws include Antonio Gramsci, Louis Althusser and Michel Foucault; gender theorists Judith Butler and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick; psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan; and children's literature scholars Karen Coats, Kenneth Kidd and others.
Source: Gender Questions 3, pp 97 –113 (2015)More Less
This article is based on a study of gender-based violence against women with disabilities. The study sought to examine the factors that make such women vulnerable, to investigate the community's responses to gender-based violence against women with disabilities, and to determine the impact of gender-based violence on the wellbeing and health of women with disabilities. The study adopted a qualitative research design so as to arrive at an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon under study. The study sample consisted of 48 disabled women living in marital or common law unions, selected using purposive sampling. Of the 48 women in the sample, 16 were visually impaired while the remaining 32 had other physical disabilities. Focus group discussions were used for data collection. The data were analysed using the thematic approach. The finding was that women with disabilities also experience gender-based violence. The study makes recommendations whose thrust is to change community perceptions on disability as the only guarantee towards eradicating gender-based violence against women with disabilities.
Author Iyabode OgunniranSource: Gender Questions 3, pp 114 –132 (2015)More Less
The consensus in modern democracies is that constitutions should be based on inclusivity. However, the Nigerian constitution is replete with provisions which are interpreted to either deny the realities of women or outright discriminate against them. This article examines the intersections of gender, law and the Nigerian constitution. It argues that women have played a minimal role in the history of constitution making. The inclusion and interpretation of equality; non-discrimination; negative vs. positive rights and gender quotas are biased. The article posits that a conscious effort to give women presence in the polity started in the Nigerian Fourth Republic. The National Gender Policy mainstreamed gender to increase the participation of women in politics and hoisted favourable economic strategies. In addition, in 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated a national conference, where far-reaching resolutions were made on gender issues. Consequently, some of the socio-economic rights have been made justiciable and imputed in the latest Constitutional Amendments Bill. An impasse between the president and the National Assembly led to his refusal to assent. The tenure of the government has ended and the resolutions of the conference may not be revisited for some time to come. In contrast to the earlier position, the Nigerian Supreme Court, in two notable decisions, strongly condemned discriminatory inheritance customary practices. The author's finding is that constitutional amendments and a continuous active stance by the courts, amongst others, offer leeways for women's development.
Author Oluwafemi Atanda AdeagboSource: Gender Questions 3, pp 133 –136 (2015)More Less
Queer Africa is a collection of 'unapologetic' stories that present the challenges people face in expressing their sexualities in patriarchal African societies. Today, the majority of African countries criminalise same-sex intimacy, and still subject women to oppression by men. These well-written stories show the extent to which people go to express their sexual desires, even in the context of strict discrimination and condemnation. It is noteworthy that the dominant discourses in Africa suggest that same-sex intimacy is un-African, and that sexuality in Africa is largely a heterosexual phenomenon. The following analysis of stories from different African countries not only shows that same-sex intimacy is African, but also that sexual desires (whether same-sex or heterosexual) are innate, and people can only express them when their socio-political context allows such relationships.
Care in Context: Transnational Gender Perspectives, Vasu Reddy, Stephan Meyer, Tammy Shefer and Thenjiwe Meyiwa, (Eds.) : book reviewAuthor Joyce MohapiSource: Gender Questions 3, pp 137 –139 (2015)More Less
Care in context is edited by academics, based in South Africa and Switzerland, who have all published extensively in academic journals and books. Their writing covers a range of topics, including women and gender, HIV/AIDS and gender, gender-based violence and educational issues.
The book has a foreword by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director for United Nations (UN) Women, who advocates for the equal sharing of care duties by men and women, in order to give girls an opportunity to reach their potential. In the preface, Joan C. Tronto of the University of Minnesota notes that there is an element of justice and human rights to caring, and that it is a holistic matter.